ROME (AP) — Italy’s justice minister insisted Thursday that his office was not responsible for the escape of a Russian businessman wanted by the United States and blamed judicial authorities in Milan for placing him under house arrest despite an avalanche. of American warnings that he posed a danger. high risk of escape.

In a briefing with lawmakers, Justice Minister Carlo Nordio denied having the authority to overturn the Milan court’s decision and send Artyom Uss back to prison pending extradition proceedings. But Nordio said he had requested that prosecutors launch a disciplinary investigation into the court’s decision and proceed to freeze Uss’s assets.

Uss, the 40-year-old son of a Russian regional governor, fled Italy on March 22, a day after a court in Milan recognized a US extradition request as legitimate. and appeared in Russia earlier this month.

He had been detained in October 2022 at Milan’s Malpensa airport on a US arrest warrant accusing him of violating sanctions. In November, the Milan appeals court granted his request and released him from jail to house arrest, equipped with a electronic monitoring bracelet

An incredulous Nordio read aloud to lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament the justification for the Milan court’s decision, which he reaffirmed even after the US extradition request arrived. He pointed out that Uss had a home in Italy and a wife who promised to take care of him while he was under house arrest there.

“With this family situation, having a wife and a home, this man walked out of prison with a bracelet, even though judicial authorities had been inundated with indications that he was a high flight risk,” Nordio said, citing numerous notes from his office. he had relayed to the Milan judicial authorities of the US Department of Justice that he identified Uss as a flight risk.

Nordio denied that he could have done anything to reverse the Milan ruling and said he had no authority to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

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